During monsoon season, people of Chinyalisaur in Uttarkashi face an uphill task in crossing the Tehri reservoir. The only existing bridge (at a height of 815 m) gets submerged when the water level in the reservoir is raised and people are forced to take a boat ride — provided free by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation — to go to the other side. During these four rainy months, every day people from nearby villages are seen jostling with one another for their turn to board the boats which take them across the reservoir to Chinyalisaur, which is the main tehsil town where schools, colleges, hospitals and various offices are located.
The district magistrate of Uttarkashi Ashish Shrivastava has now assured the people that the new bridge being built at a height of 840 m will be ready by January next year. “I have taken a written undertaking from the company building the bridge that it would complete the work by January next year. The bridge has been built at much greater height so that it does not get submerged if THDC raises the water level.”
Around 50,000 people of 42 villages have been forced to go through this rigmarole every year since the past eight years. The metal bridge — constructed at a height of 815 and connects Chinyalisaur to their villages — gets submerged for nearly four months when water level in the reservoir rises to 830 m. The bridge is located at far end of the 42 sq km tehri reservoir in Uttarkashi.
“Tehri Hydro Power Corporation has the permission to raise the water level up to 830 m. The bridge, which has been built at a height of 815 m gets submerged when the water level of Tehri lake is raised beyond that level. So, we provide boat service to the people free of cost for three-four months until the water level goes down below 815 m and bridge becomes usable again,” said a THDC official on condition of anonymity. The official added that THDC is funding the construction of a new bridge at a greater height — which is estimated to cost Rs 35 crore.